Chapter VIII. The Beginnings Of New Jersey

New Jersey, Scheyichbi, as the Indians called it, or Nova
Caesarea, as it was called in the Latin of its proprietary grant,
had a history rather different from that of other English
colonies in America. Geographically, it had not a few
attractions. It was a good sized dominion surrounded on all sides
but one by water, almost an island domain, secluded and
independent. In fact, it was the only one of the colonies which
stood naturally separate and apart. The others were bounded
almost entirely by artificial or imaginary lines.

It offered an opportunity, one might have supposed, for some
dissatisfied religious sect of the seventeenth century to secure
a sanctuary and keep off all intruders. But at first no one of
the various denominations seems to have fancied it or chanced
upon it. The Puritans disembarked upon the bleak shores of New
England well suited to the sternness of their religion. How
different American history might have been if they had
established themselves in the Jerseys! Could they, under those
milder skies, have developed witchcraft, set up blue laws, and
indulged in the killing of Quakers? After a time they learned
about the Jerseys and cast thrifty eyes upon them. Their
seafaring habits and the pursuit of whales led them along the
coast and into Delaware Bay. The Puritans of New Haven made
persistent efforts to settle the southern part of Jersey, on the
Delaware near Salem. They thought, as their quaint old records
show, that if they could once start a branch colony in Jersey it
might become more populous and powerful than the New Haven
settlement and in that case they intended to move their seat of
government to the new colony. But their shrewd estimate of its
value came too late. The Dutch and the Swedes occupied the
Delaware at that time and drove them out. Puritans, however,
entered northern Jersey and, while they were not numerous enough
to make it a thoroughly Puritan community, they largely tinged
its thought and its laws, and their influence still survives.

The difficulty with Jersey was that its seacoast was a monotonous
line of breakers with dangerous shoal inlets, few harbors, and
vast mosquito infested salt marshes and sandy thickets. In the
interior it was for the most part a level, heavily forested,
sandy, swampy country in its southern portions, and rough and
mountainous in the northern portions. Even the entrance by
Delaware Bay was so difficult by reason of its shoals that it was
the last part of the coast to be explored. The Delaware region
and Jersey were in fact a sort of middle ground far less easy of
access by the sea than the regions to the north in New England
and to the south in Virginia.

There were only two places easy of settlement in the Jerseys. One
was the open region of meadows and marshes by Newark Bay near the
mouth of the Hudson and along the Hackensack River, whence the
people slowly extended themselves to the seashore at Sandy Hook
and thence southward along the ocean beach. This was East Jersey.
The other easily occupied region, which became West Jersey,
stretched along the shore of the lower Delaware from the modern
Trenton to Salem, whence the settlers gradually worked their way
into the interior. Between these two divisions lay a rough
wilderness which in its southern portion was full of swamps,
thickets, and pine barrens. So rugged was the country that the
native Indians lived for the most part only in the two open
regions already described.

The natural geographical, geological, and even social division of
New Jersey is made by drawing a line from Trenton to the mouth of
the Hudson River. North of that line the successive terraces of
the piedmont and mountainous region form part of the original
North American continent. South of that line the more or less
sandy level region was once a shoal beneath the ocean; afterwards
a series of islands; then one island with a wide sound behind it
passing along the division line to the mouth of the Hudson.
Southern Jersey was in short an island with a sound behind it
very much like the present Long Island. The shoal and island had
been formed in the far distant geologic past by the erosion and
washings from the lofty Pennsylvania mountains now worn down to
mere stumps.

The Delaware River flowed into this sound at Trenton. Gradually
the Hudson end of the sound filled up as far as Trenton, but the
tide from the ocean still runs up the remains of the Old Sound as
far as Trenton. The Delaware should still be properly considered
as ending at Trenton, for the rest of its course to the ocean is
still part of Old Pensauken Sound, as it is called by geologists.

The Jerseys originated as a colony in 1664. In 1675 West Jersey
passed into the control of the Quakers. In 1680 East Jersey came
partially under Quaker influence. In August, 1664, Charles II
seized New York, New Jersey, and all the Dutch possessions in
America, having previously in March granted them to his brother
the Duke of York. The Duke almost immediately gave to Lord
Berkeley and Sir George Carteret, members of the Privy Council
and defenders of the Stuart family in the Cromwellian wars, the
land between the Delaware River and the ocean, and bounded on the
north by a line drawn from latitude 41 degrees on the Hudson to
latitude 41 degrees 40 minutes on the Delaware. This region was
to be called, the grant said, Nova Caesarea, or New Jersey. The
name was a compliment to Carteret, who in the Cromwellian wars
had defended the little isle of Jersey against the forces of the
Long Parliament. As the American Jersey was then almost an island
and geologically had been one, the name was not inappropriate.

Berkeley and Carteret divided the province between them. In 1676
an exact division was attempted, creating the rather unnatural
sections known as East Jersey and West Jersey. The first idea
seems to have been to divide by a line running from Barnegat on
the seashore to the mouth of Pensauken Creek on the Delaware just
above Camden. This, however, would have made a North Jersey and a
South Jersey, with the latter much smaller than the former.
Several lines seem to have been surveyed at different times in
the attempt to make an exactly equal division, which was no easy
engineering task. As private land titles and boundaries were in
some places dependent on the location of the division line, there
resulted much controversy and litigation which lasted down into
our own time. Without going into details, it is sufficient to say
that the acceptable division line began on the seashore at Little
Egg Harbor at the lower end of Barnegat Bay and crossed
diagonally or northwesterly to the northern part of the Delaware
River just above the Water Gap. It is known as the Old Province
line, and it can be traced on any map of the State by prolonging,
in both directions, the northeastern boundary of Burlington

West Jersey, which became decidedly Quaker, did not remain long
in the possession of Lord Berkeley. He was growing old; and,
disappointed in his hopes of seeing it settled, he sold it, in
1673, for one thousand pounds to John Fenwick and Edward
Byllinge, both of them old Cromwellian soldiers turned Quakers.
That this purchase was made for the purpose of affording a refuge
in America for Quakers then much imprisoned and persecuted in
England does not very distinctly appear. At least there was no
parade of it. But such a purpose in addition to profit for the
proprietors may well have been in the minds of the purchasers.

George Fox, the Quaker leader, had just returned from a
missionary journey in America, in the course of which he had
traveled through New Jersey in going from New York to Maryland.
Some years previously in England, about 1659, he had made
inquiries as to a suitable place for Quaker settlement and was
told of the region north of Maryland which became Pennsylvania.
But how could a persecuted sect obtain such a region from the
British Crown and the Government that was persecuting them? It
would require powerful influence at Court; nothing could then be
done about it; and Pennsylvania had to wait until William Penn
became a man with influence enough in 1681 to win it from the
Crown. But here was West Jersey, no longer owned directly by the
Crown and bought in cheap by two Quakers. It was an unexpected
opportunity. Quakers soon went to it, and it was the first Quaker
colonial experiment.

Byllinge and Fenwick, though turned Quakers, seem to have
retained some of the contentious Cromwellian spirit of their
youth. They soon quarreled over their respective interests in the
ownership of West Jersey; and to prevent a lawsuit, so
objectionable to Quakers, the decision was left to William Penn,
then a rising young Quaker about thirty years old, dreaming of
ideal colonies in America. Penn awarded Fenwick a one-tenth
interest and four hundred pounds. Byllinge soon became insolvent
and turned over his nine-tenths interest to his creditors,
appointing Penn and two other Quakers, Gawen Lawrie, a merchant
of London, and Nicholas Lucas, a maltster of Hertford, to hold it
in trust for them. Gawen Lawrie afterwards became deputy governor
of East Jersey. Lucas was one of those thoroughgoing Quakers just
released from eight years in prison for his religion.*

* Myers, "Narratives of Early Pennsylvania, West Jersey, and
Delaware", p. 180.

Fenwick also in the end fell into debt and, after selling over
one hundred thousand acres to about fifty purchasers, leased what
remained of his interest for a thousand years to John Edridge, a
tanner, and Edmund Warner, a poulterer, as security for money
borrowed from them. They conveyed this lease and their claims to
Penn, Lawrie, and Lucas, who thus became the owners, as trustees,
of pretty much all West Jersey.

This was William Penn's first practical experience in American
affairs. He and his fellow trustees, with the consent of Fenwick,
divided the West Jersey ownership into one hundred shares. The
ninety belonging to Byllinge were offered for sale to settlers or
to creditors of Byllinge who would take them in exchange for
debts. The settlement of West Jersey thus became the distribution
of an insolvent Quaker's estate among his creditor fellow

Although no longer in possession of a title to land, Fenwick, in
1675, went out with some Quaker settlers to Delaware Bay. There
they founded the modern town of Salem, which means peace, giving
it that name because of the fair and peaceful aspect of the
wilderness on the day they arrived. They bought the land from the
Indians in the usual manner, as the Swedes and Dutch had so often
done. But they had no charter or provision for organized
government. When Fenwick attempted to exercise political
authority at Salem, he was seized and imprisoned by Andros,
Governor of New York for the Duke of York, on the ground that,
although the Duke had given Jersey to certain individual
proprietors, the political control of it remained in the Duke's
deputy governor. Andros, who had levied a tax of five per cent on
all goods passing up the Delaware, now established commissioners
at Salem to collect the duties.

This action brought up the whole question of the authority of
Andros. The trustee proprietors of West Jersey appealed to the
Duke of York, who was suspiciously indifferent to the matter, but
finally referred it for decision to a prominent lawyer, Sir
William Jones, before whom the Quaker proprietors of West Jersey
made a most excellent argument. They showed the illegality,
injustice, and wrong of depriving the Jerseys of vested political
rights and forcing them from the freeman's right of making their
own laws to a state of mere dependence on the arbitrary will of
one man. Then with much boldness they declared that "To exact
such an unterminated tax from English planters, and to continue
it after so many repeated complaints, will be the greatest
evidence of a design to introduce, if the Crown should ever
devolve upon the Duke, an unlimited government in old England."
Prophetic words which the Duke, in a few years, tried his best to
fulfill. But Sir William Jones deciding against him, he
acquiesced, confirmed the political rights of West Jersey by a
separate grant, and withdrew any authority Andros claimed over
East Jersey. The trouble, however, did not end here. Both the
Jerseys were long afflicted by domineering attempts from New

Penn and his fellow trustees now prepared a constitution, or
"Concessions and Agreements," as they called it, for West Jersey,
the first Quaker political constitution embodying their advanced
ideas, establishing religious liberty, universal suffrage, and
voting by ballot, and abolishing imprisonment for debt. It
foreshadowed some of the ideas subsequently included in the
Pennsylvania constitution. All these experiences were an
excellent school for William Penn. He learned the importance in
starting a colony of having a carefully and maturely considered
system of government. In his preparations some years afterwards
for establishing Pennsylvania he avoided much of the bungling of
the West Jersey enterprise.

A better organized attempt was now made to establish a foothold
in West Jersey farther up the river than Fenwick's colony at
Salem. In 1677 the ship Kent took out some 230 rather well-to-do
Quakers, about as fine a company of broadbrims, it is said, as
ever entered the Delaware. Some were from Yorkshire and London,
largely creditors of Byllinge, who were taking land to satisfy
their debts. They all went up the river to Raccoon Creek on the
Jersey side, about fifteen miles below the present site of
Philadelphia, and lived at first among the Swedes, who had been
in that part of Jersey for some years and who took care of the
new arrivals in their barns and sheds. These Quaker immigrants,
however, soon began to take care of themselves, and the weather
during the winter proving mild, they explored farther up the
river in a small boat. They bought from the Indians the land
along the river shore from Oldman's Creek all the way up to
Trenton and made their first settlements on the river about
eighteen miles above the site of Philadelphia, at a place they at
first called New Beverly, then Bridlington, and finally

They may have chosen this spot partly because there had been an
old Dutch settlement of a few families there. It had long been a
crossing of the Delaware for the few persons who passed by land
from New York or New England to Maryland and Virginia. One of the
Dutchmen, Peter Yegon, kept a ferry and a house for entertaining
travelers. George Fox, who crossed there in 1671, describes the
place as having been plundered by the Indians and deserted. He
and his party swam their horses across the river and got some of
the Indians to help them with canoes.

Other Quaker immigrants followed, going to Salem as well as to
Burlington, and a stretch of some fifty miles of the river shore
became strongly Quaker. There are not many American towns now to
be found with more of the old-time picturesqueness and more
relics of the past than Salem and Burlington.

Settlements were also started on the river opposite the site
afterwards occupied by Philadelphia, at Newton on the creek still
called by that name; and another a little above on Cooper's
Creek, known as Cooper's Ferry until 1794. Since then it has
become the flourishing town of Camden, full of shipbuilding and
manufacturing, but for long after the Revolution it was merely a
small village on the Jersey shore opposite Philadelphia,
sometimes used as a hunting ground and a place of resort for
duelers and dancing parties from Philadelphia.

The Newton settlers were Quakers of the English middle class,
weavers, tanners, carpenters, bricklayers, chandlers,
blacksmiths, coopers, bakers, haberdashers, hatters, and linen
drapers, most of them possessed of property in England and
bringing good supplies with them. Like all the rest of the New
Jersey settlers they were in no sense adventurers, gold seekers,
cavaliers, or desperadoes. They were well-to-do middle class
English tradespeople who would never have thought of leaving
England if they had not lost faith in the stability of civil and
religious liberty and the security of their property under the
Stuart Kings. With them came servants, as they were called; that
is, persons of no property, who agreed to work for a certain time
in payment of their passage, to escape from England. All, indeed,
were escaping from England before their estates melted away in
fines and confiscations or their health or lives ended in the
damp, foul air of the crowded prisons. Many of those who came had
been in jail and had decided that they would not risk
imprisonment a second time. Indeed, the proportion of West Jersey
immigrants who had actually been in prison for holding or
attending Quaker meetings or refusing to pay tithes for the
support of the established church was large. For example, William
Bates, a carpenter, while in jail for his religion, made
arrangements with his friends to escape to West Jersey as soon as
he should be released, and his descendants are now scattered over
the United States. Robert Turner, a man of means, who settled
finally in Philadelphia but also owned much land near Newton in
West Jersey, had been imprisoned in England in 1660, again in
1662, again in 1665, and some of his property had been taken,
again imprisoned in 1669 and more property taken; and many others
had the same experience. Details such as these make us realize
the situation from which the Quakers sought to escape. So
widespread was the Quaker movement in England and so severe the
punishment imposed in order to suppress it that fifteen thousand
families are said to have been ruined by the fines,
confiscations, and imprisonments.

Not a few Jersey Quakers were from Ireland, whither they had fled
because there the laws against them were less rigorously
administered. The Newton settlers were joined by Quakers from
Long Island, where, under the English law as administered by the
New York governors, they had also been fined and imprisoned,
though with less severity than at home, for nonconformity to the
Church of England. On arriving, the West Jersey settlers suffered
some hardships during the year that must elapse before a crop
could be raised and a log cabin or house built. During that
period they usually lived, in the Indian manner, in wigwams of
poles covered with bark, or in caves protected with logs in the
steep banks of the creeks. Many of them lived in the villages of
the Indians. The Indians supplied them all with corn and venison,
and without this Indian help, they would have run serious risk of
starving, for they were not accustomed to hunting. They had also
to thank the Indians for having in past ages removed so much of
the heavy forest growth from the wide strip of land along the
river that it was easy to start cultivation.

These Quaker settlers made a point of dealing very justly with
the Indians and the two races lived side by side for several
generations. There is an instance recorded of the Indians
attending with much solemnity the funeral of a prominent Quaker
woman, Esther Spicer, for whom they had acquired great respect.
The funeral was held at night, and the Indians in canoes, the
white men in boats, passed down Cooper's Creek and along the
river to Newton Creek where the graveyard was, lighting the
darkness with innumerable torches, a strange scene to think of
now as having been once enacted in front of the bustling cities
of Camden and Philadelphia. Some of the young settlers took
Indian wives, and that strain of native blood is said to show
itself in the features of several families to this day.

Many letters of these settlers have been preserved, all
expressing the greatest enthusiasm for the new country, for the
splendid river better than the Thames, the good climate, and
their improved health, the immense relief to be away from the
constant dread of fines and punishment, the chance to rise in the
world, with large rewards for industry. They note the immense
quantities of game, the Indians bringing in fat bucks every day,
the venison better than in England, the streams full of fish, the
abundance of wild fruits, cranberries, hurtleberries, the rapid
increase of cattle, and the good soil. A few details concerning
some of the interesting characters among these early colonial
Quakers have been rescued from oblivion. There is, for instance,
the pleasing picture of a young man and his sister, convinced
Quakers, coming out together and pioneering in their log cabin
until each found a partner for life. There was John Haddon, from
whom Haddonfield is named, who bought a large tract of land but
remained in England, while his daughter Elizabeth came out alone
to look after it. A strong, decisive character she was, and women
of that sort have always been encouraged in independent action by
the Quakers. She proved to be an excellent manager of an estate.
The romance of her marriage to a young Quaker preacher, Estaugh,
has been celebrated in Mrs. Maria Child's novel "The Youthful
Emigrant." The pair became leading citizens devoted to good works
and to Quaker liberalism for many a year in Haddonfield.

It was the ship Shields of Hull, bringing Quaker immigrants to
Burlington, of which the story is told that in beating up the
river she tacked close to the rather high bank with deep water
frontage where Philadelphia was afterwards established; and some
of the passengers remarked that it was a fine site for a town.
The Shields, it is said, was the first ship to sail up as far as
Burlington. Anchoring before Burlington in the evening, the
colonists woke up next morning to find the river frozen hard so
that they walked on the ice to their future habitations.

Burlington was made the capital of West Jersey, a legislature was
convened and laws were passed under the "concessions" or
constitution of the proprietors. Salem and Burlington became the
ports of the little province, which was well under way by 1682,
when Penn came out to take possession of Pennsylvania.

The West Jersey people of these two settlements spread eastward
into the interior but were stopped by a great forest area known
as the Pines, or Pine Barrens, of such heavy growth that even the
Indians lived on its outer edges and entered it only for hunting.
It was an irregularly shaped tract, full of wolves, bear, beaver,
deer, and other game, and until recent years has continued to
attract sportsmen from all parts of the country. Starting near
Delaware Bay, it extended parallel with the ocean as far north as
the lower portion of the present Monmouth County and formed a
region about seventy-five miles long and thirty miles wide. It
was roughly the part of the old sandy shoal that first emerged
from the ocean, and it has been longer above water than any other
part of southern Jersey. The old name, Pine Barrens, is hardly
correct because it implies something like a desert, when as a
matter of fact the region produced magnificent forest trees.

The innumerable visitors who cross southern Jersey to the famous
seashore resorts always pass through the remains of this old
central forest and are likely to conclude that the monotonous low
scrub oaks and stunted pines on sandy level soil, seen for the
last two or three generations, were always there and that the
primeval forest of colonial times was no better. But that is a
mistake. The stunted growth now seen is not even second growth
but in many cases fourth or fifth or more. The whole region was
cut over long ago. The original growth, pine in many places,
consisted also of lofty timber of oak, hickory, gum, ash,
chestnut, and numerous other trees, interspersed with dogwood,
sassafras, and holly, and in the swamps the beautiful magnolia,
along with the valuable white cedar. DeVries, who visited the
Jersey coast about 1632, at what is supposed to have been
Beesley's or Somer's Point, describes high woods coming down to
the shore. Even today, immediately back of Somer's Point, there
is a magnificent lofty oak forest accidentally preserved by
surrounding marsh from the destructive forest fires; and there
are similar groves along the road towards Pleasantville. In fact,
the finest forest trees flourish in that region wherever given a
good chance. Even some of the beaches of Cape May had valuable
oak and luxuriant growths of red cedar; and until a few years ago
there were fine trees, especially hollies, surviving on Wildwood

The Jersey white cedar swamps were, and still are, places of
fascinating interest to the naturalist and the botanist. The
hunter or explorer found them scattered almost everywhere in the
old forest and near its edges, varying in size from a few square
yards up to hundreds of acres. They were formed by little streams
easily checked in their flow through the level land by decaying
vegetation or dammed by beavers. They kept the water within the
country, preventing all effects of droughts, stimulating the
growth of vegetation which by its decay, throughout the
centuries, was steadily adding vegetable mold or humus to the
sandy soil. This process of building up a richer soil has now
been largely stopped by lumbering, drainage, and fires.

While there are many of these swamps left, the appearance of
numbers of them has largely changed. When the white men first
came, the great cedars three or four feet in diameter which had
fallen centuries before often lay among the living trees, some of
them buried deep in the mud and preserved from decay. They were
invaluable timber, and digging them out and cutting them up
became an important industry for over a hundred years. In
addition to being used for boat building, they made excellent
shingles which would last a lifetime. The swamps, indeed, became
known as shingle mines, and it was a good description of them. An
important trade was developed in hogshead staves, hoops,
shingles, boards, and planks, much of which went into the West
Indian trade to be exchanged for rum, sugar, molasses, and

* Between the years 1740 and '50, the Cedar Swamps of the county
[Cape May] were mostly located; and the amount of lumber since
taken from them is incalculable, not only as an article of trade,
but to supply the home demand for fencing and building material
in the county. Large portions of these swamps have been worked a
second and some a third time, since located. At the present time
[1857] there is not an acre of original growth of swamp standing,
having all passed away before the resistless sway of the
speculator or the consumer." Beesley's "Sketch of Cape May" p.

The great forest has long since been lumbered to death. The pines
were worked for tar, pitch, resin, and turpentine until for lack
of material the industry passed southward through the Carolinas
to Florida, exhausting the trees as it went. The Christmas demand
for holly has almost stripped the Jersey woods of these trees
once so numerous. Destructive fires and frequent cutting keep the
pine and oak lands stunted. Thousands of dollars' worth of cedar
springing up in the swamps are sometimes destroyed in a day. But
efforts to control the fires so destructive not only to this
standing timber but to the fertility of the soil, and attempts to
reforest this country not only for the sake of timber but as an
attraction to those who resort there in search of health or
natural beauty, have not been vigorously pushed. The great forest
has now, to be sure, been partially cultivated in spots, and the
sand used for large glass-making industries. Small fruits and
grapes flourish in some places. At the northern end of this
forest tract the health resort known as Lakewood was established
to take advantage of the pine air. A little to the southward is
the secluded Brown's Mills, once so appealing to lovers of the
simple life. Checked on the east by the great forest, the West
Jersey Quakers spread southward from Salem until they came to the
Cohansey, a large and beautiful stream flowing out of the forest
and wandering through green meadows and marshes to the bay. So
numerous were the wild geese along its shores and along the
Maurice River farther south that the first settlers are said to
have killed them for their feathers alone and to have thrown the
carcasses away. At the head of navigation of the Cohansey was a
village called Cohansey Bridge, and after 1765 Bridgeton, a name
still borne by a flourishing modern town. Lower down near the
marsh was the village of Greenwich, the principal place of
business up to the year 1800, with a foreign trade. Some of the
tea the East India Company tried to force on the colonists
during the Revolution was sent there and was duly rejected. It is
still an extremely pretty village, with its broad shaded streets
like a New England town and its old Quaker meeting house. In
fact, not a few New Englanders from Connecticut, still infatuated
with southern Jersey in spite of the rebuffs received in ancient
times from Dutch and Swedes, finally settled near the Cohansey
after it came under control of the more amiable Quakers. There
was also one place called after Fairfield in Connecticut and
another called New England Town.

The first churches of this region were usually built near running
streams so that the congregation could procure water for
themselves and their horses. Of one old Presbyterian Church it
used to be said that no one had ever ridden to it in a wheeled
vehicle. Wagons and carriages were very scarce until after the
Revolution. Carts for occasions of ceremony as well as utility
were used before wagons and carriages. For a hundred and fifty
years the horse's back was the best form of conveyance in the
deep sand of the trails and roads. This was true of all southern
Jersey. Pack horses and the backs of Indian and negro slaves were
the principal means of transportation on land. The roads and
trails, in fact, were so few and so heavy with sand that water
travel was very much developed. The Indian dugout canoe was
adopted and found faster and better than heavy English rowboats.
As the province was almost surrounded by water and was covered
with a network of creeks and channels, nearly all the villages
and towns were situated on tidewater streams, and the dugout
canoe, modified and improved, was for several generations the
principal means of communication. Most of the old roads in New
Jersey followed Indian trails. There was a trail, for example,
from the modern Camden opposite Philadelphia, following up
Cooper's Creek past Berlin, then called Long-a-coming, crossing
the watershed, and then following Great Egg Harbor River to the
seashore. Another trail, long used by the settlers, led from
Salem up to Camden, Burlington, and Trenton, going round the
heads of streams. It was afterwards abandoned for the shorter
route obtained by bridging the streams nearer their mouths. This
old trail also extended from the neighborhood of Trenton to Perth
Amboy near the mouth of the Hudson, and thus, by supplementing
the lower routes, made a trail nearly the whole length of the

As a Quaker refuge, West Jersey never attained the success of
Pennsylvania. The political disturbances and the continually
threatened loss of self-government in both the Jerseys were a
serious deterrent to Quakers who, above all else, prized rights
which they found far better secured in Pennsylvania. In 1702,
when the two Jerseys were united into one colony under a
government appointed by the Crown, those rights were more
restricted than ever and all hopes of West Jersey becoming a
colony under complete Quaker control were shattered. Under
Governor Cornbury, the English law was adopted and enforced, and
the Quakers were disqualified from testifying in court unless
they took an oath and were prohibited from serving on juries or
holding any office of trust. Cornbury's judges wore scarlet
robes, powdered wigs, cocked hats, gold lace, and side arms; they
were conducted to the courthouse by the sheriff's cavalcade and
opened court with great parade and ceremony. Such a spectacle of
pomp was sufficient to divert the flow of Quaker immigrants to
Pennsylvania, where the government was entirely in Quaker hands
and where plain and serious ways gave promise of enduring and
unmolested prosperity.

The Quakers had altogether thirty meeting houses in West Jersey
and eleven in East Jersey, which probably shows about the
proportion of Quaker influence in the two Jerseys. Many of them
have since disappeared; some of the early buildings, to judge
from the pictures, were of wood and not particularly pleasing in
appearance. They were makeshifts, usually intended to be replaced
by better buildings. Some substantial brick buildings of
excellent architecture have survived, and their plainness and
simplicity, combined with excellent proportions and thorough
construction, are clearly indicative of Quaker character. There
is a particularly interesting one in Salem with a magnificent old
oak beside it, another in the village of Greenwich on the
Cohansey farther south, and another at Crosswicks near Trenton.

In West Jersey near Mount Holly was born and lived John Woolman,
a Quaker who became eminent throughout the English speaking world
for the simplicity and loftiness of his religious thought as well
as for his admirable style of expression. His "Journal," once
greatly and even extravagantly admired, still finds readers. "Get
the writings of John Woolman by heart," said Charles Lamb, "and
love the early Quakers." He was among the Quakers one of the
first and perhaps the first really earnest advocate of the
abolition of slavery. The scenes of West Jersey and the writings
of Woolman seem to belong together. Possibly a feeling for the
simplicity of those scenes and their life led Walt Whitman, who
grew up on Long Island under Quaker influence, to spend his last
years at Camden, in West Jersey. His profound democracy, which
was very Quaker-like, was more at home there perhaps than
anywhere else.